The waivers that comprise ESEA flexibility are being granted to Washington pursuant to myauthority in section 9401 of the ESEA. A complete list of the statutory provisions being waived isset forth in the table enclosed with this letter. Consistent with section 9401(d)(1) of the ESEA, Iam granting waivers of these provisions through the end of the 2012–2013 school year. If Washington meets the conditions described below prior to the end of the 2012–2013 school year, Iwill extend the approval of these waivers through the end of the 2013–2014 school year, at whichtime Washington may request an extension of these waivers.In the coming days, you will receive a letter from Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, containing additional information regarding Washington’simplementation of ESEA flexibility, as well as information regarding monitoring and reporting.Please note that the Department will closely monitor Washington’s implementation of the plans,systems, and interventions detailed in its request in order to ensure that all students continue toreceive the assistance and supports needed to improve their academic achievement.Our decision to place conditions on the approval of Washington’s request is based on the fact thatWashington will use the 2012–2013 school year to study and refine its new accountability index,which will be an integral part of its new differentiated recognition, accountability, and supportsystem. However, we have determined that Washington is able to fully meet the ESEA flexibility principles in the 2012–2013 school year while it continues to finalize the new index. The decisionis also based on the fact that Washington has not yet formally adopted a method for includingstudent growth as a significant factor in its teacher and principal evaluation and support systemsand has not yet changed its evaluation requirements to ensure that student growth be a factor in“focused evaluations” (i.e., evaluations that, in contrast to comprehensive evaluations, use only asubset of the State’s evaluative criteria). In its request for ESEA flexibility, Washington hascommitted to determining a method for ensuring that a teacher or principal cannot receive anoverall summative rating of
if he or she receives a low score on student growth, andto placing teachers and principals with low student growth scores on a one-year growth plan toaddress areas for improvement. Washington has also committed to seeking a legislative change torequire that focused evaluations include consideration of student growth.To receive approval to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2013–2014 school year,Washington must submit to the Department for review and approval an amended requestincorporating: (1) the final version of the new index, including by attaching to the amendedrequest any technical documentation, administrative rules, and other relevant information; (2) rulesregarding the use of student growth as a significant factor in teacher and principal evaluation andsupport systems that Washington’s Teacher and Principal Evaluation Project Steering Committeeis expected to recommend by December 2012; and (3) a copy of the amended State statute thatrequires each focused evaluation to use student growth data. If Washington’s amended requestdoes not include the final version of the new index, fails to demonstrate that its final method for determining a teacher or principal’s summative evaluation rating includes student growth as asignificant factor, fails to demonstrate that it has secured the necessary legislative change to requirethat focused evaluations include student growth, or if Washington does not receive approval of theamended request, the waivers being granted to Washington through ESEA flexibility will expire atthe end of the 2012–2013 school year, and Washington and its districts will be required toimmediately resume complying with all ESEA requirements.